Refugee-friendly synagogue is hoping for a full house
WHEN RABBI Janet Darley retired as minister of South London Liberal Synagogue last summer, the community’s parting gift was a commitment to, quite literally, build on her support for refugees.
On Shabbat, Rabbi Darley was back at the Streatham-based shul as it formally launched a £50,000 appeal to turn part of its building into a home for refugees from war-torn countries such as Syria.
Board of Deputies chief executive Gillian Merron joined other faith and community leaders from across London at the service, where plans for the Abraham’s Tent project were outlined. Around £9,000 has already been donated and Rabbi Darley said afterwards that she was encouraged by the widespread support for the venture.
“It is only when a house or flat is made available to a local authority that a family can be resettled here and begin to build their lives.”
Through her involvement in the Refugees Welcome group in Lambeth, she had shared in the excitement of refugee children starting school. “Seeing them grow and flourish shows how lives can be transformed through offering shelter and welcome.
“Judaism teaches that the world as it is is not the way it has to be — and that we must be engaged in bringing about the just world we aspire to. This is a wonderful way to make a difference and work with our neighbours to do so.”
No date has been set for the commencement of building work, which is expected to take a month. Project representatives want to discuss logistics with Lambeth Council, through which the accommodation will be offered.
Student rabbi Nathan Godleman led the Shabbat service, which was followed by a home-cooked meal for the congregation.